Feds say they have shut down Darkode malware marketplace

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Justice Department says it has shut down an online marketplace where cybercriminals bought and sold hacked databases, malicious software and other products that could steal information from computer systems.

Federal authorities revealed the 18-month undercover investigation in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. They say the inquiry targeted more than 70 cybercriminals in the U.S. and 19 other countries.

The marketplace was called Darkode, an English-language forum where hackers sold malware or solicited others to install it.

They say participants also bought and sold stolen databases used in identity-theft and computer fraud schemes. Some of the databases contained email addresses or other personal information from millions of people.

Some of the 70 targets have been charged. Authorities say others are the subject of search warrants as a prelude to possible criminal charges.